Elevation Zero

 

When it comes to climate change, one thing is certain: our oceans are rising. And South Florida is expected to be among the first regions on Earth to experience the impact. In fact, some initial preparations are already underway

WLRN-Miami Herald News presents a series of stories about the effects of sea-level rise. The project is called “Elevation Zero: Rising Seas In South Florida."

Click through the pages below to see our entire archive of Elevation Zero stories, or listen to these special one-hour programs aired during our week of sea-level rise coverage, Nov. 11-15, 2013:

MONDAY
The Sunshine Economy: Underwater Real Estate

TUESDAY
Alex Chadwick's "BURN: An Energy Journal"

WEDNESDAY
Elevation Zero town hall, hosted by WLRN's Tom Hudson

THURSDAY
Select Elevation Zero features: "Rising Seas In South Florida"

FRIDAY
The Florida Roundup: Sea-Level Rise Will Flood South Florida. Now What?

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Elevation Zero
12:11 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Special Programming: 'Rising Seas In South Florida'

Credit Kenny Malone / WLRN

Starting Nov. 7, the WLRN-Miami Herald News staff brought you feature coverage of the effects sea-level rise has on our coastal communities.

Reporting fellow Wilson Sayre produced an hour-long special including the past weeks' feature programming and previously unaired content. The program, "Rising Seas in South Florida," was hosted by WLRN vice-president of news Tom Hudson and aired at noon on Thursday, Nov. 14.

Listen to it here:

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Elevation Zero
8:55 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Sea Level Limbo In The Caribbean: How Low Can You Go?

Map of the Caribbean showing in red the vulnerability of the Western Isles, especially The Bahamas.
Credit Google

The folks in the Bahamas hamlet of Dunmore Town seem blissfully unaware of sea level rise. One resort hotel operator I called in Dunmore, which sits on Harbour Island, dismissed it altogether.

“I was just down at our beachside bar,” she said. “I didn’t notice the sea level rising.” (Yes, she was serious.)

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Elevation Zero
3:24 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Outdated Miami Canals Too Weak For Sea-Level Rise

Credit Balthazira / Flickr Creative Commons

  It’s been more than half a century since flood-control structures such as dams and canals were constructed throughout Florida. Now, with the impact of sea-level rise on the horizon, many of these structures are becoming fragile barriers to keep floodwaters and tidal surge safely away.

Dr. Jayantha Obeysekera is in charge of assessing short- and long-term responses regarding sea-level rise for the South Florida Water Management District. He examines the canal system in Miami's Little River neighborhood, which separates the river from the ocean.

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The Sunshine Economy
7:54 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Underwater Real Estate

This chart from NOAA shows the monthly mean sea level in Miami Beach. The data does not include the regular seasonal fluctuations due to coastal ocean temperatures, salinities, winds, atmospheric pressures, and ocean currents. The long-term trend lines are designed by NOAA to indicate a 95% confidence level of the trend.

  

The dream of South Florida real estate is beachside.  The marquee properties along our beaches attract global attention and eye-popping prices.  But as studies from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration have found, sea levels in South Florida have risen about nine inches in the past century.  Today's beachside may be the next century's underwater property.

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Elevation Zero
7:53 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Fort Lauderdale Ahead Of The State When It Comes To Sea-Level Rise Protection

Fort Lauderdale's State Road A1A suffered serious damages from Tropical Storm Sandy.
Credit Florida Department of Transportation

If not for its patchwork of different shades of asphalt, you would never imagine the stretch of State Road A1A along Fort Lauderdale Beach was all underwater a year ago.

Last November, Tropical Storm Sandy and small storms that followed washed out a four-block section of A1A, north of Sunrise Boulevard. Sandy wasn’t a big storm, so the uncharacteristic destruction it brought has been explained by sea-level rise, which can cause increasingly harmful storm surges.

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Elevation Zero
7:01 am
Wed November 13, 2013

How South Florida Kids Learn About Sea-Level Rise

Students with MAST at FIU collect mangrove propagules for a restoration project.
Credit Sammy Mack / WLRN

Standing at the water’s edge on Florida International University's Biscayne Bay campus, Nicholas Ogle shows a crowd of teenagers what looks like a giant, rotten green bean.

“We don’t want any mushiness anywhere, especially at the top,” he says, then chucks the specimen to the side.

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Elevation Zero
7:00 am
Wed November 13, 2013

What To Make Of All Those Sea-Level Rise Projections

Credit NOAA

Climate scientists largely agree that sea level is rising. The extent of the change is a far more complicated matter.

“Probably two feet. Three feet, possibly,” said David Enfield, a climatologist with the University of Miami and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. “As an extreme -- if for example we see an unexpected acceleration of the melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica, something else we’re not observing -- we could be seeing six feet by the end of the century.”

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Elevation Zero
7:13 am
Tue November 12, 2013

RFK Jr.: Where The Feds Have Failed On The Environment, Carbon

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Credit Credit robertfkennedyjr.com

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is no stranger to stirring up controversy. As the 50th anniversary of his uncle's assassination approaches, his previously secret diaries have brought forth more private revelations about him and his famous family.

But he may be more comfortable poking at the fossil fuel industry (which he calls “criminal”) while also acting as a green technology entrepreneur.

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Elevation Zero
3:06 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Key West Awash With Plans For Rising Sea Level

A cyclist rides past buckled asphalt in Key West, Fla., after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Key West experienced widespread flooding with the storm surge.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:00 pm

Florida — especially South Florida — is very flat and very low, and in places like Miami Beach and Key West, buildings are just 3 feet above sea level. Scientists now say there may be a 3-foot rise in the world's oceans by the end of the century.

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Elevation Zero
6:46 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Wild Money: Crocs, Cash And Sea-Level Rise

Credit Brian Jeffery / University of Florida IFAS

As water levels rise in the Everglades, are prolific pythons and their iguana cousins going to come slithering out, seeking higher ground and pushing out our local crocs? The very idea makes most of us want to relocate.

It turns out wildlife biologists and other scientists have been studying for the past few years what might happen to more than 20 Everglades species. One conclusion: Soon, we all may be scrambling for a higher perch.

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Elevation Zero
4:18 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Why Modern Human Beings Aren't Built To Grasp Climate Change

In 2007, artist Eve Mosher drew a chalk line at the 10-foot above sea level line around 70 miles of coastline in New York City.
Credit highwaterline.org

A decade ago, sea-level rise from climate change was a political argument with very little external reality in the minds of most people.

But University of Miami professor Kenny Broad might have said then what he says right now.

"This isn't some future generation problem," Broad said. "It’s in our lap right now and we don’t have a lot of time to make some clear decisions."

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